Learn French

Book Review



Learn French - Usborne Introduction Series


Nicole Irving


EDC Publications,  Tulsa, OK



Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

October, 2000


The Usborne Introduction To French book and cassette package provides a radical and refreshing change of pace in  foreign language study courses, and uses a novel concept that is different from many other study programs.

ama-0746014392.gif (4329 bytes)The heart of this program is the book. Like any traditional self-paced foreign language course, the book covers basic pronunciation and notes about the use of French in everyday situations. What sets this course apart from most is that the entire dialog on the cassette tape is presented inside the manual as one long comic strip that flows from page to page. The listener is introduced to the main story characters at the beginning and then follows them along as they encounter everyday situations during their trip to France.

Each portion of the story is read slowly on the accompanying cassette tape along with the English translation, then the entire section is read again at normal conversational speed. The story quickly gets past the basics of the language and involves the listener in more complicated dialogs. The voices on the tape are clear and lively, and do an excellent job of acting out their parts of the characters in the story.

The illustrations in this work are excellent, and the cartoons, pictures and text are colorful and keep your attention. Additional information is provided in the margins of every page so the student can improve their mastery while reviewing sections that have already been covered on the tape. The book is formatted so that the cartoon story can be easily followed while listening to the cassette, and the marginal information closely follows the student's progress through the course.

Another important divergence from traditional programs is the actual content of the course. The dialogs are not designed as common tourist book style phrases but instead cover a much broader range of situations. They frequently jump from first person to second and third person, thus avoiding a common trap of teaching the user a number of first person only situations. This course succeeds by immersing the student into French to get the desired results.

This program may be a little difficult for an absolute beginner to master because of the conversational speed of the dialogs and rapid pace of learning, but is an excellent program for those that have already mastered the elementary concepts of French and want to move past the basic content of most self-study courses and into more advanced topics. The teaching method used by this program aids retention of the material by presenting the information in both a listening and visual format at the same time. This is one of the best programs in this price range.


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